June 5, 2021 - Shabbat 5pm
I had a clear dream today, and I believe the Lord is speaking to me. Here’s what I can remember:
I was with my wife Cassandra in a hotel room, and felt the Lord urging me to go out, though I didn’t know for sure the reason. Cassandra was reluctant to see me leave, but acquiesced and let me depart.
I walked for a distance, and came to a hotel ballroom where there was a concert taking place with thousands of Filipinos in attendance. It was an event that normally I would have been a part of, but I was absent, and I somehow understood that many people were disappointed that I was not there.
I entered the big ballroom, and while still at the back I went to a sink and began brushing my teeth. (In actuality I had fallen asleep right after eating fruit and lettuce, without brushing, so my mouth was yucky and needed to be cleansed. Perhaps this had an affect upon my dream). Just as I began brushing my teeth, a man onstage (a local singer who was becoming increasingly known among Filipinos) spoke into the mic:
“I’d like to sing this song by Steve Kuban. As a child I sang it often, and it encouraged me a lot when I was growing up. Since brother Steve is not here to sing it tonight, I will be the one.” And then he began singing For the Lord is My Tower.
The moment he began, my heart leapt within me. I felt the urge to run down to the stage and give him a thumbs up and wave of encouragement. If he didn’t see me (because of the bright lights shining in his eyes), I decided I would go up onto the stage and start singing with him. “What a happy surprise that will be,” I thought, “for him, and for the audience too.”
So I quickly finished brushing my teeth, and ran down toward the stage. But by the time I got near, he had finished singing, and now another performer began the song, “The Philippines is for Christ.” I paused at the bottom of the stage, realizing that it’s not appropriate for me to go onto the stage, because it wasn’t my song. But still I wanted to wave to him and encourage him. (The singer may have been composer Ernie Palacio himself, but in the dream I wasn’t sure). Though “The Philippines is For Christ” is not my composition, it was one of the songs on my gold album “More of the River” which helped popularize it among Filipinos. For this reason, and because I sang it in my Philippine concerts worldwide, some people think I wrote it.
I also thought that by going closer to the stage, certain pastors would be blessed seeing me, knowing that I was there in the midst of the people. I wanted them to know my heart is with them.
I stood down below the stage and waved up to the singer. He saw me and responded back with a wave and a big smile.
I wanted to remain in the auditorium and enjoy the concert, but still I felt a pressing need to depart and follow the leading of the Lord, though I wasn’t sure what He was up to or where He was taking me. I exited the auditorium through a door beside the stage.
Once I was in the backstage area, I walked through a dimly lit passageway. It led to the backstage area of an adjacent ballroom, where dancers, processionalists, flag-wavers and tambourinists were praising the Lord to music. I saw them gathered in the backstage area, then watched them stream out into the ballroom to perform. And as they did, I knew from the voluminous response that the audience were being greatly blessed.
I continued walking along the dimly-lit backstage area, until finally emerging into the well-lit main foyer outside the ballrooms. There was still an urgency in my heart to “get back”, and it was at this moment I realized in the dream that my mom was downstairs in the main auditorium, and was needing me to come to her.
I proceeded to make my way through the hotel ballroom areas, unsure exactly where to go, as I was unfamiliar with the layout of the rooms and ballrooms, as I had never before been here.
Enroute I popped my head into a smaller ballroom, and to my surprise saw about a hundred people gathered for a graduation ceremony. I entered into the top of the room, which was like a university classroom, with the Master of Ceremonies standing below at a lectern on the main floor, with the graduates assembled beside him, dressed in graduation attire. There were also many guests in the seats where university students sit during classes.
The head professor (or perhaps Master of Ceremonies?) looked up, saw me
[and another person whom he first addressed while I waited. When they finished a brief exchange, he turned to me looking up, ]
and said, “Brother Steve Kuban, it’s good to see you here! Please can you stay so we can have some pictures with you?” I realized this was an important occasion! I saw all the grads assembled in their graduation attire, students of many ages and levels. I wondered what class or level they were each graduating from? I saw a printed program listing the various grades from elementary up to high school, and perhaps beyond, for there were some advanced calculus math symbols listed beside some of the higher levels. I knew that this was an important moment for the graduates. It was such a warm thought that the Master of Ceremonies was asking me to stay and be part of their photos. Of course I wanted to stay.
But I had a sense of urgency to return back to the main auditorium downstairs (6 floors below) because my mom was there and needed me. So I told the Master of Ceremonies, “I’m so sorry, I need to get back to my mom. She’s 95 years old, and needs me.” He was visibly disappointed, and replied, “Well, okay brother Steve, we surely understand if you must go.”
But I felt sad because this occasion was important to 100 graduates, and if they could have a photo with me which might make the occasion even more special, I surely want to be available. It’s even more special to them, than for the other folk who were in the concert in the main auditorium, because of the occasion, and because these folk were not dressed in ordinary clothes, but dressed in their graduation gowns, marking the uniqueness of the occasion.
But seeing the disappointment in the MC’s voice, I felt bad, so I made an an offer that I honestly wasn’t sure I could keep: “Please if you can wait ten minutes, I will first go attend to my mom, and then, if there’s any way possible, I will come right back.” The MC was happy and said they would wait for me to return.
In my mind, I thought, “They probably are thinking that I won’t come back. The MC knows it, the people know it … and I know it.” I hated the thought that I had just promised something to lessen their disappointment but in reality the likelihood of me fulfilling my promise was low. I knew my mom would be tired and have little desire to accompany me to yet another event that took my attention off her, onto my “adoring fans” (as she calls them).
I hurried away from the lecture hall and made my way back down to the main auditorium. On the way, I passed some tables covered in extravagant sweets, like chocolates cups filled with exotic nuts. I bit one, and it was delicious. I thought, “Wow, all these awesome sweets sitting on the tables, why haven’t the people gobbled them all up, and pocketed the leftovers?” Seeing the lavish display made me realize how extravagantly this occasion had been provided for. There was more than enough for everyone, and much still remaining.
I continued several flights down the main stairway and arrived at the second floor. It was an ornate balcony overlooking the main foyer, which was as beautiful as any ballroom or foyer I had ever seen.
By this time, the concert had finished, and there was a steady stream of concert-goers exiting the main auditorium. I wondered, “Where is my mom? Has she left her seat? Is she coming out?” From the second floor vantage point, I was unable to see people’s faces clearly, especially the women who were wearing hats. I tried to remember what my mom was wearing, or what her shoes looked like —hoping I might recognize her in the crowd by her shoes or clothing. I seemed to remember that she had been wearing black, so I was looking for a woman wearing black, that might be her.
Then amid the crowd, one elderly woman stood out: she was walking just like my mom — slow, deliberate, careful, with a walking stick in one hand. She was on her own (though there were streams of people passing around her exiting the auditorium). I ran down the remaining steps to the main floor and then ran toward her. Yes, it was my mom! But I was surprised, for she was wearing a brilliant blouse completely studded with sparkling diamonds! I met her and took her by the hand, and told her she looked so beautiful.
Then my mom spoke to me: “Thank you for helping me! I had lost my key, but you helped me find it. I am so grateful to you Steve.” In that moment, I remembered that I had recently helped my mom find her key and get out of a difficult and helpless situation she found herself in. I identified with her feeling of helplessness and need, and to reassure her I replied, “I understand mom. Something happened to me, where I was helpless and needed help, and Cassandra and Ian came and helped me (my wife and stepson). I understand.”
*(And indeed, just before falling asleep, that’s what had happened! It’s rare for me, even almost unthinkable, that I am in such a position to desperately need someone’s help. I am usually very independent, even fiercely so. But this morning, just before reading today’s Shabbat Torah, I decided to take one additional tablet of doxazosin which helps keep my blood pressure low. I never take a second dose. But this morning, after having taken one tablet at 1am, I decided to take an extra one, to see if it might lower my blood pressure. But unknown to me, doctors warn that increasing the dosage can cause one to get dizzy. And that’s exactly what happened to me 30 minutes after taking the second tablet — suddenly, while reading Torah out loud, I became very dizzy, and the room started to spin. I knew I needed to immediately get off my chair and lay down on the bed beside me, before I might faint. I was barely able to crawl onto my bed, the room spun so intensely. I tried lifting myself up several times, but every time the room spun and I had to fall immediately back onto the bed. I felt helpless. But I needed to pee, but was unable to get off the bed in my own power. (Believe me, I tried to get up first, on my own, but every time I lifted up my head, the room went spinning and I had to fall back onto the bed. I was absolutely unable to get to the toilet, even though it’s only 12 feet away from my bed.) So I asked for Cassandra and Ian’s help, and they held and supported me, to the point where I was able to walk to the bathroom, with them holding up most of my weight. I felt strength enough to walk the few steps, because they held me up.)
So I told my mom that I understood her situation of feeling helpless and needing assistance.
My mom was really happy, and was SO thankful for the help I had given her. Her words and actions were very sincere and genuine.
I took her by the hand and led her away from the crowds of people. I decided not to ask her right away whether I could take her upstairs upstairs to visit the graduates. I didn’t know if there was an elevator, and there was certainly no way she could walk up six flights of stairs. So I resigned myself that I wouldn’t be able to go back up to see the grads.
As mom and I walked along the foyer of the hotel main ballroom floor a short distance, I saw a nearby elevator. With courage I asked mom: “Can we just zip upstairs for a few minutes? There are some graduates who asked me to take pictures with them. We can go up in this elevator.” My mom agreed, and as we entered the elevator I pressed the button to go up to the sixth floor …. and that’s when I woke up.